We live in a lazy sound-bite culture. With each passing year, Americans demand that their lives become a little bit faster, a little bit simpler, a little bit easier. Jello Biafra once said, "Give me convenience or give me death," and this really is our new sacred patriotic creed. It's central to every aspect of our hurly-burly, Internet-and-latte lives, even here in slow, laid-back New Mexico. Wouldn't Patrick Henry be proud?
The idea behind our Ridiculously Short Fiction Contest, though, isn't to create a forum for fast and easy fiction. As contestant after contestant pointed out, few literary challenges are as difficult as attempting to shoehorn a good solid story into 100 words or less. These writers sweated. They lost sleep. They tore their hair out of their scalps in bloody clumps. They resorted to illegal substances. All in the service of the dark jealous god of literature. A panel of judges made up of Alibi Food Editor Gwyneth Doland, Alibi Copy Editor Stephanie Garcia and yours truly dug deep into this mountain of words and came up with quite a few sparkling gems that I'm sure you will enjoy.
First Place goes to Winnie Devlin for a tiny cultic ode that somehow managed to both creep us out and break our little hearts. For her efforts, Devlin will receive a free one-hour massage from the master, John Wolfe at Knot Works (8220 La Mirada NE, Suite 100, Albuquerque, NM 87111, 489-2788). She'll also get a $25 gift certificate to Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW, 344-8139), one of our favorite independent bookstores in Albuquerque, along with a nifty Alibi T-shirt.
Second Place is bestowed on Shaun T. Glenn for "Red Arroyo," a pleasingly cryptic tale that all of us loved simply to death. Glenn will receive a signed copy of Helen Fielding's latest novel, Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination, also donated by Bookworks, along with $40 worth of gift certificates to Ned's Downtown (407 Central NW, 243-0364), an Alibi T-shirt and a snack-size packet of Planters® Seasonuts Heat Peanuts. Yum!
Third Place splats with a wet thwack against the cheek of Jan Marie Baca for her story "Flat Black" about a woman who literally goes postal. For her efforts, Baca will receive $60 worth of gift certificates to the Monte Vista Fire Station (3201 Central NE, 255-2424) along with an Alibi T-shirt and a plastic kitty "Grow a Pet"—made in China!
Extra special thanks to all our sponsors, and congratulations to the winners and all the honorable mentions. To those who didn't quite make the cut: Please, don't whine. Trust me, we've heard it all before. Have some dignity, fer chrissake!